Fostering Interventions for Rapid Market Advancement – FIRMA

    Project „Fostering Interventions for Rapid Market Advancement– FIRMA“

    Donor: USAID-Sida
    Period of implementation: September 2009 – September 2014

    Project partners: PLOD Center Bihać, (metal sector) BH MET NET Consortium: Association of Entrepreneurs Žepče, Agency for Economic Development Zenica-ZEDA, Agency for economic development of Prijedor Municipality -PREDA, Association of Entrepreneurs and Business LINK Mostar Independent office for Development (NBR) Modriča and (wood-processing sector)  Chamber of Commerce of the Una-Sana Canton

    FIRMA is a five-year project, whose implementation began in September 2009. The project supports three B&H economy sectors: wood-processing sector, tourism and metal industry. It is implemented in the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina and covers about 200 companies in each of the mentioned sectors.

    General objective is to help B&H gain “the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the European Union”, a critical component of the Copenhagen Economic Criteria for EU accession. FIRMA works with three sectors of the B&H economy: wood processing, tourism and light manufacturing. The principal group of implementing partners is called Value Chain Facilitators (VCFs).

    Specific objective is to support sustainable economic growth, employment expansion and increased household incomes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    PLOD Center is a local partner that participates in implementation of the project in metal sector (Una-Sana Canton) and wood-processing sector (Una-Sana Canton and Western Bosnia Canton). Partners in metal sector are members of BH MET NET Consortium: Association of Entrepreneurs Žepče, Agency for Economic Development Zenica-ZEDA, Agency for Economic Development of Prijedor Municipality-PREDA, Association of Entrepreneurs and Business LINK Mostar Independent Office for Development (NBR) Modriča and in wood-processing sector Chamber of Commerce of the Una-Sana Canton.

    PLOD Center performs the following tasks within FIRMA project:

    1. Serves as a member of a national-level Sector Working Group
    2. Leads meetings of Regional Value Chain Working Groups
    3. Maintains information on stakeholders
    4. Originates and manages FIRMA grants and technical assistance
    5. Implements activities
    6. Monitors and reports

    Implemented activities:

    • the current situation of small and medium enterprises from treated sectors in the Una-Sana Canton surveyed through basic survey
    • action plans for overcoming obstacles identified in basic survey of small and medium enterprises created
    • seminar “Simplification of export procedures“ held
    • investment projects and business plans created
    • business gathering “Favorable financing for small and medium enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina” organized and held

    The goal of the gathering was to present to small and medium enterprises from metal, wood-processing and tourism sectors current and planned programs of financing of B&H economy by financial institutions, including Development Bank of FB&H, World Bank which implements their programs through ODRAZ Agency, as well as commercial banks and support programs to economy development of Government of FB&H.

    • Conference „Creation of favorable business environment in the Una-Sana Canton”  organized

    The goal of the Conference was establishment and promotion of active dialogue between governmental, private and non-governmental sectors about development of economy in the Una-Sana Canton in order to gain valuable insights into existing problems and define key guidelines for establishment of effective policies and measures for development of economy in the Una-Sana Canton to increase employment, investments, competitiveness of small and medium enterprises and create better business environment.

    Target group of the Conference were strategically important small and medium enterprises from the Una-Sana Canton, Municipalities, as well as institutions and organizations contributing to development of small and medium enterprises. The Conference was attended by 220 participants.

    • Workshop „Environmental permits“ organized
    • Workshop “Energy efficiency” organized

    The goal of this workshop was to familiarize participants with the basics and importance of energy efficiency, EU directives, the current legislation regarding energy efficiency in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the possibilities of renewable energy sources and available sources of financing energy efficiency projects.

    • Visit of metal processing companies from B&H to Nordbygg 2012 Fair, Stockholm, Sweden organized

    Within this project activity PLOD Center organized a visit of businessmen from B&H metal processing sector to Nordbygg Construction Fair that is held every year in Stockholm, Sweden. The purpose of this visit was to support B&H metal processing companies to visit the Nordbygg 2012 and that way access new markets in Scandinavia.

    Current activities:

    • Introduction of new vocations intended for formal and informal education- Mixed vocational secondary school Sanski Most   

    Recognizing the needs of entrepreneurs for vocations that are geared towards advanced technologies, Mixed vocational secondary school introduced enrollment plan with two new professional titles:

    1. Mechanical Technician for computer design and
    2. Mechanical Technician Programmer for CNC machines.

    The objective of this project is to create preconditions for the implementation of quality training for the aforementioned vocations including: equipping workshops, teachers’ training, preparation of plans and training programs and providing the other conditions for their implementation and certification of unemployed persons according to the needs of the local economy, as well as the introduction and formalization of vocations for students, who will meet the future needs of industry for personnel capable of handling advanced technologies. PLOD Center is responsible for coordination and implementation of all activities.

    • Program of business-financial consultants – QBFC program

    QBFC program is a separate segment of FIRMA Project, which seeks to intensify the activities of the companies to access funding. PLOD Center is one of the providers of business consulting, which is certified by FIRMA Project.

    The program objectives are facilitating access to favorable funding to companies from three sectors covered by FIRMA Project, and to improve the adequacy of the structure of financial sources and the conditions under which SMEs obtain financing.

    QBFC services include:

    • consultation in the form of advice and recommendations,
    • analysis of financial condition of enterprises,
    • creation of financial plans and projections,
    • preparation of requests and documentation for funding,
    • projections of cash flows and projections of balance sheet and profit and loss accounts,
    • developing business plans and investment plans,
    • the other documents required to obtain financing.